Laurel Library to discuss Hitler’s Holocaust
January 3, 2011
The Times-Tribune, Corbin, KY
CORBIN — By Carl Keith Greene / Staff Writer
At it’s Holocaust Reading Series, the effect of Germany’s Nazi regime during World War II will be discussed monthly at the Laurel County Public Library over the next five months.
The Holocaust, which caused the deaths of millions in 21 European countries, all of which were occupied by Germany during the war, was planned and ordered by Adolf Hitler.
Tonight from 6 to 7 p.m. an introductory session will be conducted at the library on University Drive, off KY 192, east of London.
Five books will be used in the program and Monday a drawing will be held for copies of the book, “…I Never Saw Another Butterfly … Children’s Drawings and Poems from Terezin Concentration Camp, 1942-1944,” edited by Hana Volavkova.
Sessions will be held Jan. 17, Feb. 21, March 21, April 18 and May 23.
Books for the rest of the session include, “Sarah’s Key,” by Tatiana de Rosnay, “Salvaged Pages,” by Alexandra Pruder, “Maus” by Art Spielgelman and “The Sunflower,” by Simon Wiesenthal.
The program is appropriate for high school and college students and adults.
The facilitator is Risha Mullins, a teacher at North Laurel High School and a professional development leader for the Holocaust Educators’ Network of New York City, the U.S. Holocaust Museum of Washington, D.C., and the National Writing Project.
Books for the program are furnished through a grant funded by The Memorial Library and Art Collection of the Second World War.
There is no charge for the program and it is open to the public.
For planning purposes online registration at www.laurellibrary.org or by calling Gwen Stivers at 606-864-5759 is suggested.
In case of weather problems call the library for cancellation information.
“…I Never Saw Another Butterfly…” is a collection of children’s drawings and poems created at Terezin camp between 1942 and 1944 by some 15,000 children under 15 years old.
They were there for various periods before the children were taken to other camps to die.
Some teachers had a few art supplies and they taught art as a means of therapy.
The book opens by discussing the background of the Terezin camp, then it shows numerous pictures and moving poems.
It closes with an afterword summary about the children’s work and a list of the known names of the authors and artists, listing their birth and death dates.
Some of the children who drew some of the art survived the war and became artists.
“Sarah’s Keys,” is a fictional description of the 1942 Paris roundups and deportations.
Thousands of Jewish families were arrested and taken outside Paris from which they were transported to Auschwitz.
Millions die in death camps
Between 1933 and 1945 an estimated 11 million citizens of 21 European countries were killed by the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazi) by orders of Adolph Hitler.
The Nazis murdered in the Holocaust more than six million Jews, about two-thirds of the Jews living in Europe and 1.1 million of them were children.
The rest killed included Gypsies, Communists, Socialists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Freemasons, homosexuals and the physically and mentally disabled.
It was a move by Hitler to create a perfect population of “racially superior” Germans.
Soon after Hitler took power, on April 1, 1933, the Nazis began their activities against German Jews with a boycott of all Jewish-run businesses.
By Sept. 15, 1935, laws began to keep Jews out of public life.
The Nuremberg Laws included a law that stripped German Jews of citizenship and a law that disallowed marriages and extramarital sex between Jews and Germans and set legal precedents for more anti-Jewish legislation.
Additional laws included excluding Jews from places such as parks, civil service jobs, made Jews register their property and kept Jewish physicians from treating other than Jewish patients.
Just before World War II started, Nov. 9/10, 1938, a Nazi pogrom began against the Jews in Germany and Austria.
On “Kristallnacht” or “Night of Broken Glass,” violence began with pillaging and burning of synagogues, breaking windows in Jewish-owned businesses and looting the stores.
Many Jews were attacked physically and about 30,000 Jews were arrested and taken to concentration camps.
The war started Sept. 1, 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and Slovakia.
Following that there were declarations of war on Germany by France and most British Empire and Commonwealth countries.
On Dec. 8, 1941, the United States declared war on Germany and Japan.
Once the war started Jews in Germany were required to wear yellow Stars of David on their clothing so they could be easily spotted and targeted.
They were ordered to live within certain specific areas of big cities called ghettos.
The Jews were ordered out of their homes and moved into smaller apartments, sometimes shared with other families.
In the beginning the ghettos were considered open, which allowed the residents to leave during the daytime but return at night. Eventually all ghettos were closed, with Jews trapped within their ghettos and not allowed to leave.
By 1941, the largest ghetto was in Warsaw with a population of 445,000.
Nazis would order deportations from the ghettos.
In some large ghettos, a thousand persons a day were loaded into trains and taken to either a concentration camp or a death camp.
The Jews were told when they left the ghetto that they were being taken somewhere else for labor.
On April 13, 1943, when the Nazis tried to empty the Warsaw the Jews still there fought back. The resistance fighters held the Nazis off for 28 days, longer than many European countries could withstand Nazi conquest.
During the war there were concentration, extermination, labor, prisoner-of-war and transit camps.
In the camps prisoners were forced to hard labor and given tiny rations.
Prisoners slept three or more in each wooden bunk with no mattress or pillow.
Prisoners were frequently tortured and often died.
Concentration camps were intended to starve prisoners to death. Extermination camps were built to kill large groups of people quickly and efficiently.
By the end of the war nearly two out of every three European Jews were killed as part of the Final Solution, the policy of the Germans and their collaborators.
Along with the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., many other countries have memorials and museums, lest the activities of the Nazis in World War II, be forgotten.